Science and Engineering Ethics

, Volume 23, Issue 6, pp 1719–1754 | Cite as

A Meta-analytic Comparison of Face-to-Face and Online Delivery in Ethics Instruction: The Case for a Hybrid Approach

  • E. Michelle Todd
  • Logan L. Watts
  • Tyler J. Mulhearn
  • Brett S. Torrence
  • Megan R. Turner
  • Shane Connelly
  • Michael D. Mumford
Original Paper


Despite the growing body of literature on training in the responsible conduct of research, few studies have examined the effectiveness of delivery formats used in ethics courses (i.e., face-to-face, online, hybrid). The present effort sought to address this gap in the literature through a meta-analytic review of 66 empirical studies, representing 106 ethics courses and 10,069 participants. The frequency and effectiveness of 67 instructional and process-based content areas were also assessed for each delivery format. Process-based contents were best delivered face-to-face, whereas contents delivered online were most effective when restricted to compliance-based instructional contents. Overall, hybrid courses were found to be most effective, suggesting that ethics courses are best delivered using a blend of formats and content areas. Implications and recommendations for future development of ethics education courses in the sciences are discussed.


Ethics Ethics education Training Delivery format Responsible conduct of research (RCR) Hybrid Blended learning Face-to-face Online 



We would like to thank Kelsey Medeiros, Logan Steele, Tristan McIntosh, Alison Antes, Jason Borenstein, Jeffrey Engler, Michael Kalichman, Brian Martinson, and Michael Verderame for their contributions to the present effort. This research was supported by Grant No. ORIIR140010-01-00 from the Office of Research Integrity. The contents of this publication are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Office of Research Integrity.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Michelle Todd
    • 1
    • 2
  • Logan L. Watts
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tyler J. Mulhearn
    • 1
    • 2
  • Brett S. Torrence
    • 1
    • 2
  • Megan R. Turner
    • 1
    • 2
  • Shane Connelly
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michael D. Mumford
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe University of OklahomaNormanUSA
  2. 2.Center for Applied Social ResearchNormanUSA

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